Yesterday was a partial solar eclipse.
We have done the pinprick in paper before, which worked out amazingly well, but I thought we’d amp up the intensity: find an astronomer and get them to let us play with their telescopes! How hard can that be?
You’d be surprised how easy that was 🙂
So, over at my education-blog, BreakingOrbits, there is an Events page. That page has a ton of links to Free things going on in the Bay Area. Lo and behold, the City College of San Francisco was having a free event where you could play with the Astronomy department’s telescope!
So, off we went!
I love colleges. I love colleges in the way 6 year old little girls love Princess Castles. I love the design, I love the architecture, I love the over-the-top hugeness they put into the walkways. (You should have seen my melting face when Ben took me to see Dartmouth. Holy cow was that amazing.) These stairs were huge, and I made the kids walk all the way up just so I could get a picture of them on the steps in front of the giant pillars and dome, and the gigantic words that say, “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” I love colleges. They are definitely where I belong. I would love to go back and teach Literature classes there after the kids are all off on their own.
Thank you kids for letting Mom take this awesome picture 🙂
Okay, so here was where it was happening! We walked all through the Science Hall, which was actually pretty neat to see. They had a seismograph machine in the wall that was working, and that was amazingly awesome (and I got to explain what it was to some random guy walking by, because he said he never understood what it did! Awesome day for him!). There were displays in the hallways, and one had whale vertebra, whale baleens, shells and microscopic pictures of marine amoeba. I also got to bug a study hall asking if any of those fine gentlemen were the Astronomers we were looking for. They waved their hand and said, “These are not the Astronomers you are looking for.” They were pretty convincing, so we kept walking…and we finally found them! They were outside, which made a lot more sense.
This guy was hanging out with some mylar, and you could look through the mylar and see the eclipse.
The kids all stood in line to wait their turn to look through the telescope.
This is Evan in the gray sweatshirt, and he was in charge of the telescope. He was a very pleasant fellow, and we talked with him for a bit. He was explaining how today was particularly interesting, because there was a gigantic sunspot that you could see today; so that made the eclipse a little more exciting!
When we were done, I figured we’d walk around and see what else the college had to offer. Nova wanted to see the Art dept., so we headed over there. We found the art gallery, which was fun for me. I worked in a gallery at a college for a few years, and it was one of my favorite jobs. So I loved being able to take the kids here and show them around.
We took a seat and I showed the kids the students’ paintings. Had them tell me which ones were still lifes, which ones were portraits, etc. Alice got really into it and found the “HORSIE!!!!!!”
I was trying to explain why Helvetica was so important, but I lost them on that topic. Which is totally fair. However, if you are interested in typography, the documentary, “Helvetica,” is actually very interesting.
We were done walking around the college, and we had a little time to kill…so we went to the beach. The kids know what to do 🙂
Okay, so I was at a stoplight when I saw this guy in the wild, writing. May I just say that he found a fantastic place to write. Noisy, busy, but no one is bothering you. My hat off to you, fellow writer.
Life is good 🙂